How to tie dye tshirts

How to Tie-Dye T-Shirts


Kids love making tie-dyed shirts.

When we were in high school, my sister and I used to do this quite frequently. Ok, we may or may not have tie-dyed our underwear, too!

Every few years, when the kids outgrow their shirt, we know it’s time to do the craft over again!

Here is what you’ll need

  • Item to tie-dye: t-shirt, scarf, or yes, underwear! Michaels always has plain cheap t-shirts
  • Fabric dye – I used to find this in the grocery store, but this year could only find it in Michaels.
  • Rubber gloves
  • Elastic bands and/or white string
  • Buckets and squeeze bottles


These are the best instructions on how to tie-dye

Start by mixing the dye in buckets.

There is a lot of dye in one package, so do not use it all.

When I did this with 15+ children, I only used half the package. If just doing it with a few kids, use 1/4 of the package.

Fill the bucket with warm water and add the powder. I didn’t measure. I just eyeballed it and stirred.


Pour the dye carefully into squeeze bottles.

I got these bottles from the dollarstore. In fact, we also use these bottles in the winter. I fill them with water and food colouring so they can paint the snow. Great supplies to have on hand!


Have the kids prepare their cloth. The link above shows you a few different techniques, but we go for the basic one.

Grab some material and wrap a rubber band around it.


You can also wrap string around the bunches of cloth, and tie it off. It leaves a slightly different pattern. Everywhere the cloth is hidden by the elastic, the material will be clear of dye.

When you have enough elastics in to your liking, you are ready to start dying.


The dye WILL stain.

So, make sure kids are wearing old clothes, or put an apron on them. Have them wear rubber gloves.

Set out the bottles of dye and get the kids to start adding colour to their t-shirt.


You don’t need very much, as the colour will spread.


Once you are happy with how much dye you have on and your colour patterns, you are finished!


Put each t-shirt in a plastic bag, and tie it up and leave it over night. This helps the colour to set.

The next day, remove the elastics and string and rinse out the dye. Some of the colour will bleed into the white areas.

Wash the t-shirts separately. I think we did this twice.

Then, your newly created t-shirt is ready to wear!






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